The mystery of RussiaGate. The big one of our time.

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: The great mystery of RussiaGate is why anyone believes it makes sense. The pieces of the puzzle did not form a picture during the election. Despite vast amounts of new information, they did not form a picture a year later. Now, two years later, they still do not form a picture. Instead we get bold statements by partisans, wild guessing given with mad confidence. Here is the latest weird news – about Michael Flynn. Our acceptance of what we are told is one of our leaders’ greatest strengths.

RussiaGate

Michael Flynn Is Owed an Apology.

Op-ed by Eli Lake at Bloomberg.

“Remember when Michael Flynn was a traitor? It was early 2017. Democrats were still stinging from their defeat at the hands of Donald Trump. …Flynn, a retired three-star general, was forced to resign after serving less than a month as Trump’s national security adviser. He was said to have colluded with Russians during the presidential transition. For this he was defamed as a Russian agent and mocked as a bumbling Benedict Arnold. Former officials of Barack Obama’s administration hinted that Flynn had been compromised.

“As it turns out, none of this was true. On Tuesday Flynn will receive a sentence for the one count to which he has pleaded guilty, lying to the FBI. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has recommended no jail time. Flynn will have a chance to get on with his life. …

“The evidence that Flynn was acting on behalf of Russia, however, is lacking. Yes, he attended a gala for Russia’s propaganda network, RT, in 2015 before joining the Trump campaign. But during the transition, as incoming national security adviser, Flynn would have been expected to have contacts with Russia. It was Flynn’s concealment of his communications that attracted the FBI’s interest. …

“That investigation {into Flynn} remained open after the bureau learned that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and others in the Trump orbit about a phone call between himself and the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak. U.S. intelligence monitored the conversation.

“That conversation proved to be Flynn’s undoing. …leaks {about it} revealed that Flynn had misled the incoming Trump White House about the phone call. It remains a mystery why Flynn, a man with a reputation for integrity and valor as both an officer and government official, would lie. Perhaps it was untoward, but there is nothing unusual about an incoming national security adviser contacting foreign diplomats during the presidential transition. Trump himself was doing this openly from Trump Tower. According to the House Intelligence Committee report, Flynn ‘requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner.’

“In no other era would these be grounds for treating a national security adviser like a member of a crime family. And yet that is exactly what the FBI did. On Jan. 24, 2017, then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe sent agents to discuss the phone call with Flynn without letting him know that he was being investigated. McCabe himself urged Flynn not to have a lawyer present, according to recent court filings. The agents interviewing Flynn knew exactly what he had said to Kislyak – they had a transcript of the call. The purpose of the interview was to try to catch Flynn in a lie. …

Which they did. How could Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for two years under Obama, fall for such a simple trap? He must have known that his call on 29 December 2016 to the Russian ambassador would be recorded by US intelligence. Especially with RussiaGate burning? Also, why did he not take the elementary precaution of having his personal attorney at the interview with FBI agents? Or better yet, have the White House counsel present? None of this makes much sense.

The Real Story of the Flynn Hearing.

Op-ed by Michael Ledeen in the Wall Street Journal.

“Judge Sullivan repeatedly invited Mr. Flynn to reconsider his guilty plea on a charge of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Judge Sullivan stressed that he had not presided over earlier proceedings in the case and that he was prepared to have Mr. Flynn change his plea or even ask for a dismissal of charges. At times, the judge seemed to implore Mr. Flynn to reopen the deal he made with special counsel Robert Mueller, implying that there was reason to believe his guilty plea had been wrongfully arranged.

“Mr. Flynn wasn’t interested. Over and over he told Judge Sullivan that he was comfortable with his confession, did not wish to have it reconsidered, and wanted the judge to pronounce sentence. But Judge Sullivan continued unsuccessfully to invite a change in Mr. Flynn’s plea. …

“It was a bizarre situation. Judge Sullivan clearly did not wish to pass sentence, and he warned Mr. Flynn that the punishment could be greater than the “low end” the prosecutors and defense lawyers alike were seeking and that Mr. Flynn clearly wanted, thereby ending two years of misery.

“One way or another, Mr. Flynn faces a gloomy future. Either he has to revisit the plea – perhaps exposing his son to hostile action from the special counsel, and certainly increasing his legal costs – or insist on sentencing, about which Judge Sullivan was hardly encouraging. …So it’s Mr. Flynn who must decide between two unattractive options.

“The case drags on, as do so many special-prosecutor cases. I had six years of nastiness from independent counsel Lawrence Walsh in the Iran-Contra affair. The government was ultimately ordered to cover my legal costs – but again, it took six years. I entirely understand Mr. Flynn’s wish to put this behind him, and this week’s drama must have infuriated him. There he was, one short step – sentencing – from the finish line. Now who knows? There’s no time limit, Mr. Mueller has an unlimited budget and a big, enthusiastic staff. Mr. Flynn’s lawyers surely told him what Washington lawyers invariably tell their clients: Play the game, get it over with. He did – and it wasn’t good enough for Judge Sullivan.

“I do not believe Mr. Flynn lied to the FBI. I think he lied when he made his deal with Mr. Mueller, and his confession was a false one. The president can provide clarity by releasing all relevant documents.”

Michael Ledeen is a scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (see Wikipedia).

Leeden makes a bizarre guess about Flynn’s innocence. But the official narrative is also bizarre. Not just about Flynn, but the entire story – going back to the alleged hack of the DNC’s servers (and the FBI’s bizarrely lax investigation of it). Plus Trump’s refusal to release documents explaining what is going on. After all, Mueller has them all (and Putin already knows the truth about RussiaGate, whatever it is).

Large forces are moving in America, invisibly. Our confidence in the narrative given us is one of our leaders’ greatest advantages.

About lies

Tucker Carlson pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg lied to Congress, with no consequences. James Clapper, as Director of the NSA, lied to Congress (and failed to even privately correct his testimony afterwards). There is a long list of lies by government officials to Congress, going back decades, often about matters of the greatest importance.